Monica Smith


Monica Smith is the associate director of policy and advocacy with Vera’s Jails Team, working to end pretrial and wealth-based detention with a focus on small cities, towns, and rural areas. She works with community partners and government actors to develop community-curated alternatives to pretrial detention, money bail, and supervision.

Before Vera, Monica coordinated nationwide efforts at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to decarcerate both the criminal legal and immigration systems. As director of court advocacy at the Youth Justice Network (formerly Friends of Island Academy), Monica partnered with criminal defense attorneys and community advocates to obtain release on recognizance for young people detained at Rikers Island jail in New York City. Monica began her career as a public defender in Kentucky and Louisiana.

Monica holds a BA in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana and a JD from Southern University Law Center, both historically Black universities.